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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  July 5, 2013 11:00pm-2:01am EDT

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and it's hard not to feels sorry for him. it's a very steep learning curve -- curve to go from commanding a court to commanding an army group in a very short amount of time. i think that he, again, is not a natural battle captain. i am heartened by my assessments of them. he wrote to memoirs. he also wrote a book called the general's life which was published posthumously. cannot right every died. he outlived almost everyone else from that generation. consequently have a large role in shaping his own reputation and in shaping the narrative. he was the consultants on the
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movie patton that came out in 1970. and so consequently what you see, i think is the benefit of longevity. he managed to help shape our general belief that he was a hero as a general and a very competent general. i don't feel that that is entirely accurate. i certainly right to that effect. >> at beef in the world war ii, the european theater. what churchill called the american prodigy of organization , 18 million tons of worst of to europe, equivalent to the cargo and 30600 liberty ships or 181,000 railcars. range from 800,000 military vehicles to footwear and sizes to a to a 22 tripoli. u.s. munitions plants have
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turned out 40 billion rounds of small arms ammunition and 56 million grains. from the date of the day, seized by 500 million machine-gun bullets, 23 million artillery rounds. i am letting the american taxpayer take this hill one pro-gun a declared. no one disagreed. by 1945 the u.s. had bill two-thirds of all ships afloat and was making half of all manufactured goods in the world, including nearly half of all armaments. the enemy was crushed by logistical brilliance, firepower and mobility, cattle aptitude, and an economic juggernaut that produced much more of nearly everything in germany could. "thomas davis, good afternoon. >> good afternoon and thank you for taking my call. it is a privilege to speak to mr. atkinson.
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i read the first two volumes. i am on the third. i am a retired chaplain of 30 years, 6393. in world war ii are was a boy scout. the korean war. i was in the seminary eight years. i felt the responsibility to my country. so i went into the chapel. i have questioned. there is now mentioned of a chaplain in the first two volumes. and the third volume, no one chaplain personally who wrote the prayer for pat and, the prayer for good weather. i know of a second her jumps with the 101st on d-day, was captured, was put up to face a
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firing squad. the german officer was raised -- was raised -- not raised all but educated. he pull them out of the line and that german company was overrun. the chaplain was put back with his unit. my question, now you do a lot of research and a lot of things you have to leave out. did you run across any contribution toward the war effort? thank you. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you for the call and the question. yes. of course. in that do right. the chaplain who wrote the prayer for good weather that to mentioned. there is one, a rabbi named i corn and i write about him in the current book. chaplains are important to
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combat units then and now. they are part of the moral structure of the army. it is a place for soldiers to find solace, even so if they're not especially religious. active captains and confidants. you know, i don't write about the chaplain corps much because, as you say, there are things you have to leave out, and that is one of the things that for the most part does the reid itouch on it and try to a knowledge they're contributions. >> we have a few minutes left with our guest. a world war ii veteran and michigan. hi. >> yes. thank you for taking my call. i.m. 87 years old. i was 19 when i flew 35 missions with the eight air force during world war ii.
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we used to fly over the netherlands. day in and day out we would fly over montgomery's lines. all we would ever see is smoke screens. whereas if we had targets in various parts of germany sometimes we would have to get a secondary target because pat and had already got there. also, i have read a little bit on andy rooney. i have not heard you mention him i have read some of his books. he had quite at distain. what is the other -- the famous author? anyway, that is above all. i would like your comment on what i just asked. >> well, thanks. i don't know if i refer to andy rooney. i use his book.
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a sergeant in world war ii. i think it is in the notes of this one. he is not a character because, again, you have to leave certain things out. he did not make the cut. thirty-five nations. that is a pretty significant contribution. i alluded earlier to the mortality rate of guys flying the kind of missions you were flying. to make it to 35 missions and get home and live to 2013 to bear witness and tell us about it is extraordinary. i thank you for that. >> facts and figures. this is the provision that travel will winston churchill including 144 bottles of
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whiskey, 144 bottles of sherry, 144 bottles of gin, bacon, coffee, tea, a toilet paper, paper napkins, dinner plates, tea cups, tumblers, 100 wineglasses. it goes on. forty-eight bottles of white horse. sixty-nine whiskey's, 10,000 players cigarettes traveled with him as well. where did you get this information along with the information we read about the the the war. >> this information specifically i found at the british national archive outside of london. equivalent of our national archive. i was delighted to find it because it gives you some sense of how they were living large in a place like this. you know, part of the narrative
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riders task is to figure out where this stuff is. in the case of manifests like this i show up and began licking through files and see what i can come up with. >> host: you are on. >> it is a real pleasure to me by phone for the first time even though i have not read any of your books. warfare history is something and don't care all that much about. hopefully you can give the good answer to question that i hope can prevent more wars in the future. it is about a financial and economic underlying cause of war for instance in italy between 1918 and 22i personally don't know how miscellanea rose to power.
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i imagine he must of wiggle his way up by forming alliances, accusing others to be so-called traders. khaddafi style. i don't know if his rise actually did it. i do know that italy had a low standard of living before 1914, and it was late to the industrial revolution. >> where you going? >> there are other examples. japan, 1930 after a stock market crash, i read that that is what caused the military's to rise to power. >> host: i think we get the point. thank you for your call. did you understand? >> i think the gist of what he is saying. yes. there are underlying causes for nations to go to war. whether they are economic or political, political and economic, yes. if you look at the end of the war in europe in world war one,
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you're recognized. this season world war ii were planted there. you know, all of the rest of european history plays ultimately. so that is indisputable. >> host: kenneth e-mails and, grandmother born in 1879 had ten children, seven boys, four from seven world war two top three in europe, one in the pacific. remember poring over her scrapbooks at the time as a child with fascination and only later understood how she and other people's this is our heroes. of the court to reading your latest. >> said breakaway periodically to come back here to the conference of southern washington, may 1943. take a snapshot of what is happening. but basically set overseas in the war theaters. and i try not to give it too much. these are common histories.
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>> host: the next call is spot -- scott. you're on the air. >> i just had a comment and then the question. my comment is i want to say thank you for your work. close to my grandfather. his younger brother was lieutenant-colonel george f. marshall who i learned more about three your first book, the african invasion. this past memorial they i went with my family to this park dedication in his honor thrown by his son who was only three at the time. i just want to say thank you for your work. my question is, i saw among your greatest influences or among your influences was your editor, john sterling, who has been with you through all six books. what are some of the crucial ingredients for a great editor? >> guest: thank you for that. i appreciate that. john has been my editor and a
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good friend since 1987. i think patients, a literary year. i think a great sense of how to handle a sometimes temperamental author. i think recognition that these things take time and that, you know, i think, is at the heart of that relationship. >> host: how often did fdr and churchill made? >> guest: oh, gosh. about twice. i don't remember the total number of times, but there were hundreds of hours. >> host: on the phone. >> not often, but they did. >> host: about three minutes left with our guests. here is a little bit from the guns of less light. and this is from 1945 on fdr. time magazine had catalog many rumors about the presence of.
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he had been secretly rushed to the mayo clinic. three psychiatrists attended them. he was anemic. the truth is worse. not for decades would it be revealed that his blood pressure decline from 128 over 82 in 1930 to 260 over 150 in december december 1944. in the past year he said nearly 30 pounds. he had complained in december. an examination by cardiologists, is a discoloration. skin, lips, and nail beds, labored breathing, abdominal distress and symptoms of an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs all leading to a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. he had indeed been in the make from chronic bleeding hemorrhoids exacerbated by is inability to state a lot. he has suffered symptoms of a mild but its act in august when giving a speech in washington
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state. the various ailments, periodically treated far phenobarbital injections. personal physician ordered that as low as possible be revealed to the sea tick the prescribed digitalis that asking what they were and made fruitful efforts to have his daily smoking and drinking, ten cigarettes and one-and-a-half cocktails' as recommended. lots of sleep. he would write his secretary later on friday. that is a little bit from the guns that last flight. jim entrails city's south dakota. your question or comment for rick atkinson. >> it helps if i push the button. >> guns at last light which was actually my first book of world war two. a journalist. and about two years ago when my mother died she had given me a
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packet of about 1,000 letters written between 1942 and 1945 which represent the correspondence of my parents during those years. my father had enlisted in 1942 at the age of 37. he served with the seventh armored division. my biggest question today, i have had the letters digitized. my question is, where do you recommend as a repository for these letters? my father was a very good writer. he never spoke about the war, but his letters are informative. there are especially insightful when it comes to the training leading up to their departure and all of his letters survived. some of her letters in the war years when he was actually in the front, they do not survive.
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but his do. and he asks a lot of questions in these letters. i think that they are potentially valuable. >> thank you. >> guest: thank you. thank you for taking the time to preserve those letters. there are a couple of good repositories. the first law would take a look at is the u.s. army military history institute which is in carlisle pennsylvania. it is adjacent to the army war college. it is the place where an official records -- official records go to the national archives. letters, diaries, and the like. your dad's trove would fit perfectly in there. among other things, they organize their archives by a unit. so your dad's letters would be with the seventh armored division. other letters and diaries and so on from the seventh armored
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division. that sort of stuff, frankly, for a historian like me, is absolutely invaluable. so i would encourage you to put at least copies of them there. if you have a pretty good website, u.s. army military institute in carlisle, pennsylvania, part of the army history and education center. you can find them and see how to get in touch with them. >> host: unfortunately we are out of time. here is a picture. we did not get to somebody else beecher in your book. they're is a picture of her on the front lines. and as well, that is the e herrmann our featured. we did not have a chance to get to either of those. very quickly. six books. the laundry line was his first. crusade about the persian gulf war came next. an army of dawn in the company of soldiers. a day of battle. the guns at last light, liberation trilogy is the
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website. >> tonight on the c-span2, historian windy lauer on her book hitler's ferry. then journalist rick atkinson talks about a world war ii, the iraqi war, and the persian gulf. later, a senate hearing in the future of wireless communications the new president of the american medical association is our guest this week on news makers. she talks about implementing the affordable care act, the doctor shortage, and their priorities as the association's president. watch sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> making the transition from journalism to bucks is exhilarating and completely overwhelming and frightening but
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wonderful. >> what did you make that? >> i made the choice because i had long wanted to be working on a book is because of the freedom that is allowed to you to dive into a topic and lose yourself and go off on tangents and have enough time to really explored fully. >> sunday tabus sciences, living in space, the afterlife and the human digestive system. calls them e-mails and facebook comments in-depth three hours live at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> next historian discussing her soon-to-be published book hitler's furies, german women in the nazi killing fields. spoke to book tv at the book expo america. several interviews over the past two weekends from the publishing industry's annual trade show. all of these can be viewed online at
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>> and alan book tv a preview of this new book. german women in the nazi killing fields. what is your book about? >> it is about entire generations of german women. i call them the world war one baby boomers. an increase right up to the first world war. 1918, 1919, and that coincides with german women getting the vote. you have this surge of the female population coinciding with the opening up of clemens of which is politically. so the stories about this generation came of age during the nazi regime. they saw opportunities that they did not have before to be part of this political system, part of the revolution, fighting job
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of its energies. the first ways of getting out of their villages. very small, remote villages and once to get out and see the city so it is about these women who come of age with their visions and dreams that, inside with the establishment of a criminal regime. so the political awakening is also part of this political system. and i end up tracing these women to the eastern territories of the not see breezy where the crimes of the holocaust occurred the killing fields of the holocaust. so we see how they kind of comment and then they are mobilized to participate in these campaigns. and i had not read any books that placed women in these crime
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scenes. that is of my story is about, how they get to these crime scenes, how they react to what they have seen, as some of them get into the role of accomplices and the worst case, those who become killers. we often think of germans as camp guards. and in small numbers. 3,500. the documentation combat the reality is german women were sent to be part of the colonial projects. the war of destruction. kind of developers; misers. all of these capacities. and they directly participate in this imperial project which included the holocaust, which included these genocidal programs. -- in understanding the magnitude of this, discovering the magnitude of this to the research that i've done, i wanted to make the book
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accessible to as many people as possible. a lot of -- licking and archives around the world. 1992 before i discovered some of this. i started collecting the stories. took all these years of going to israel, spending time at the u.s. holocaust museums in washington d.c. a fabulous collection there. going to the archives in germany, collecting material from survivors and the u.s. this massive collecting effort, the story to place these women in this killing fields. and i concluded that there were at least half a million, 500,000 women who were mobilized. this is new. not only have we are putting them in the eastern territory, but a significant numbers and variety of roles. and that figure is obviously quite a contrast to what we think a female camp guards
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enclosed camps settings behind barbed wire, behind the walls trained to be cool. now, the see of women in all different kinds of capacities in the open air settings, mass shootings, approximately -- the liquidation, forced marches. famine, starvation. it became in the studies -- communities started to develop. very much included women. that large numbers. i had to then kind of bring it down to individual faces, to put human face is on these perpetrators. in the history books. often demonized and preventative freaks of nature. and i wanted said present the reality which is that these women when they came of age,
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people that we could relate to, actually likable figures. and so the book warms up to them in the beginning. then you start to see how they transform by being moved in confronting. then we see the different reactions. this is the main story. >> host: were women supportive of the nazi regime as it came to power? >> guest: they were, that this is a political awakening. so they were involved in the communist movement and a number of people's movements. right-wing movements. and moderate, social democratic party, and largely represented. there were really active. >> in these movements. and you cannot say, for instance, that women are responsible for voting hitler into power. he was actually placed by the,
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leads, but during -- 32, the election results, july 32, heather was made chancellor in january 1933. a certain reason with the nazi party was strong represented in germany, phenols participation in that, and the participation in the movement as such, aides to the storm troopers. but we could not predict, for instance, 1933. that is part of this tension and contingency. you know, these women completely 100 percent not see. fresh off to the east to become show it -- killers. the transformation that i am trying to delineate through these biographies. >> host: these pictures. >> that is a very chilling photo.
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it still grabs me. still startles me. she was a young woman, baby boomer born right after world war one who grew up in a working-class family in the saarland which was a contested territory. they attempted to rejoin. germany in the 30's. she grew up on a chicken farm. she had a grade school education . china said get at and see the world. these ambitions that are stirred . and trying to find a way. and what she does is she finds a way through and not see newspaper office. working as a typist. and she meets her has been there. a real rabble-rousers', vestry
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fighter. i mean, showing off his stars. somehow enchanted by that, the brutality. and he is in the ss. a rising career. part of the elite. she attaches herself to him. her marriage application. the ss marriage application file, the marriage had to be approved by heinrich himmler. >> ss. >> says. they have a racial examination. very invasive to the women coming analogs built examination . that only their ancestry going back to the 18th-century, their biological features. the rest of the application, a profile and a full body and as a fur. her husband becomes the commander of one of the most notorious concentration camps.
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western ukraine. hundreds of thousands of jews were transported to belgium. many died in the camp. and they set up their villa outside of the camp perimeter. when she got there, i would like a balcony. i mean, the balcony. they had to lay of the tile. and what did she do? a three year-old daughter. she brought of family. well, the setting of this bill the, the balcony where they would have their rich -- afternoon ritual of coffee and cake. she would pull out her pistol, a typical weapon, a booze what
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kind of -- turn-of-the-century. recreational and a weapon. something of a gardener. so i have one of these theories to pull this out and then she would shoot across over the wall . no, making their way through the camp. a retained there. not a one kind -- one time incident. she developed his reputation for the shootings. and many women, testimony of his shooting for about case which is an interesting kind of pattern, but it also just brings really wycherley home the fact that these were women killing. not their official task.
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places where they realize this is possible. everything is possible. >> host: how did you find her story? >> guest: i found her story -- i came across a story in the testimony of a very, very important to the writer by the name of philip treatment, a very pioneering scholar in his field. and i heard about her during the war through other survivors. and we wrote about this. i think it was the 60's. and i was shocked by this. you know, identify there. even quoted the survivors who were astounded by violence. and that was the first implication. someone who was a figure.
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let me test of whether or not this is true. let me try to corroborate this testimony with other materials. and then i got into the primary german documentation and found her marriage application and verify she was. her own biography and that she was, in fact, real person and she was there with her daughter. you can see at in the journals. and then continued to collect more testimony about her. and that is really the primary source. there are other cases, the biographies or identify people through memoirs. they came out, you know, kind of the audacity to write their memoirs and leave us other history and then i use that as a starting point and start to dig. and make phone calls and send letters into of that. >> host: where did these women go after the war?
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>> guest: most of them went back to west germany and austria. i have women from vienna who were in the gestapo. the gestapo there. back to vienna, when you went back to their towns and west germany. one couple in particular in what became east germany. and that particular woman figure very prominently in the book. she was responsible for the plantation -- she and her has been running a farm. again, this is another case. and they were jews that were trying to flee from the zero railway transport. then that china find refuge. this temple would hunt him down. they had a special site on the
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farm, and actual killing said. and this figure, she was on her balcony serving coffee and cake in over the men talking about what should be done with this use. even if you tell how they should be killed, the proper method. so one day some jewish boy, leading to their state of brought them back to the house, condom down, fed them something to eat. kind of gain their trust. then she escorted them. that is a pretty detailed story. and i can tell you that story because she was subjected to some pretty harsh interrogation in the 1960's, 61 with her husband.
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and so they confessed to these crimes. and i have since corroborated her confession with testimony, gone to the side and my step what she said. local witnesses there. her husband was guillotined. she was given a life sentence. they went back to these places. they vary quite a bit. this is not what happened in west germany. another case of the secretary it was her boss, was indicted for the murder, and they were both acquitted. the case of the austrian perpetrator to go back to vienna don't even -- i mean, the cases i heard in that course of their trees.
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told to go home. >> host: most of these women faded back into normal life. >> and this is a matter, the setting really brought out this behavior. after the war they slid back into society thinking they had got away with murder. they did. the scholars, the chameleon effect which is this ability for the perpetrators to just -- they are not psychopaths who continue to kill after the war. they become normal people. that kind of hurts to behavior that is then defeated.
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>> host: chair of the history department. is that correct? >> professor. >> host: there we go. her new book coming out. september. german women in the nazi killing fields. this is book tv. >> tomorrow on washington journal we will talk about the jobs figures and the unemployment rate to with reuters correspondent. followed by national journal on a story nearly one in five members of congress gets paid twice. the upcoming congressional agenda. then we look at the federal resources fighting wildfires
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across the mom -- country. 7:00 a.m. >> more coverage of nonfiction books and the book industry here every weekend on book tv along with our schedule. you can see up programs anytime. join our online book club as we feature a current best seller each month and get the latest updates throughout the week. follow us on facebook and twitter. >> up next author and journalist rick atkinson. military historian talking about the liberation of europe during world war ii, the iraqi war, and the persian gulf a decade later. the pulitzer prize and polk award winning journalist has authored six books, including the liberation trilogy, an army at dawn which received the pulitzer prize in 2003, the day of battle, and the 2013 pan alley, the guns of last night.
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>> host: what is the liberation trilogy? >> well, is a project that began 15 years ago. it is an account of the liberation of europe, particularly from the perspective of americans and other western allies. the first volume begins with the liberation of europe and north africa, november 1942, the invasion of morocco and algeria and in their campaign across north africa. the second volume moves north across the mediterranean to the invasion of sicily in july 1942 and the southern italy in september of 1943. and then the third volume is one that begins on the eve of the invasion of normandy. rome has fallen on june 4th 1944. of course d-day and normandy is in sixth. and the final volume tells that final chapter of the story all the way through victory in
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europe on may 8th 1945. >> host: your book, why do we begin in north africa? >> that is where the story really begins. the decision was made by franklin roosevelt at the urging of churchill to not try to cross the english channel in 1942 or 1943 partly because the american army was very green, green commanders, partly because quitted not have the landing craft and the other material necessary to undertake that enormous feet. so roosevelt contrary to the advice of almost all of his senior military commanders agreed to invade north africa in november 1942. to place on november 8th. american and british forces fighting that the germans because they were not there yet, not the italians, but the french. and that is really where the story begins, with us fighting the french. >> host: why do we begin by fighting the french?
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>> guest: the french had made a deal with the germans never invaded france in 1940, and he immediately made his way to paris and offered the french a deal of the devil. the gist of it was, i will keep the northern two-thirds of france including paris. your friends can keep the southern one-third of the new capitol, and you can keep your overseas possessions, particularly your colonies in north africa. and most of the french agreed to this. a few renegades refused, obscure brigadier-general, but most of them agreed. and so consequently when we invade north africa it is the french are still there. these are french possessions, algeria is essentially estate of metropolitan france. >> host: how long did take to defeat the french? >> guest: three days. and the french army fought pretty in differently. the french navy really fought ferociously. one of the biggest naval battles of the atlantic, casablanca.
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the first couple of days, november 1942. but then the french just so happened that a senior french admiral was in algiers at the time. he finds himself trapped basically by this invading force he negotiates a deal with the americans and the british and agrees that he will surrender north africa which happens in the middle of november. three days of fighting in a couple of days of heavy wrangling. well, -- >> host, you have a recurring theme through all three of these books. the war in north africa in 1942 and 1943, you're right september september 1939, the u.s. army had ranks 17th in the world in combat power just behind romania. 136 german divisions caulker western europe nine months later the war department reported that it took fields just five
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divisions, leaving -- even the homeland was vulnerable. coastal defense guns had not been test fired in 20 years in the army lacked enough anti-aircraft guns to protect even a single american city. the building of the armed forces was likened to the reconstruction of a dinosaur. then from your second in the trilogy, from beginning to end, allied war making in the mediterranean tended to be improvisational. finally, from the guns that last flight was just came out, you're right to the cohesion and internal coherence of the allied coalition has a shared victory. suddenly it was possible to lick it allied rulemaking on any given day and feel heartsick at the missed opportunities and you're blind personalities and wretched wastage to wonder why their ranks could not be braver or at least more clever, smart, shrewd, present, or at least
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intuitive, yet despite the allied way of war one through and then just to finish that up, and e-mail in mount lebanon, pennsylvania, at the bottom we have the soldiers who won the war. they are rewarded for their diligence and stoic demeanor. dysentery, lack of clothing, ammunition, support, food. there are slaughtered by the hundreds, often by the poor planning of their division, core, army, an army group commanders. thousands of these men were wasted for no good purpose. my question, how did we win the war? >> well, that is a complex question try to simplify, we won the war through a variety of the advantages. we had far more of everything that the chairman said. material advantages were enormous. tens of thousands of airplanes
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at a time when the germans are struggling to make just thousands. we made more tanks, trucks, ammunition. that is important. we were making it in america, not only for ourselves and our forces, but for france. and so we ended up outfitting the british come out fighting almost everything that the french used once they joined the war on our side and a substantial portion of what the soviets and others were supplied with the reason that is important. we learned how to fight. i think that is part of what this shows is about. we learned from the mistakes that were made beginning in north africa and then in italy and certainly there were more mistakes in western europe, but there is a great sifting out that goes on. it is the sifting out of the continent from the incompetent. commanders cell levels from platoon leader of the army commander. the physically fit from the physically unfit. alecky from the i'm lucky. this is the trait that napoleon most prized and his generals.
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it is incredibly important and more precise by the time we get to the summer of 1944 we're pretty good. we have a sizable army. and so when you put all of those things together and you remembered that the soviets are hammering the third reich from the east, they do most of their fighting, most of the bleeding, most of the killing, and most of the dying, 26,000,007 aside in the war. it is a very good ally to have in the soviet union. you put all those things together and what you have is a winning coalition and a winning formula for global warfare. >> host: you right in the events of last night, the typical soldier stood 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 144 pounds. physical standards had been lowered to excepts defects that once would have kept many a man out of uniform. a man with 2400 vision could now be conscripted if this site was correctable to at least 2040 in one night.
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toward that end the armed services to five armed forces would make over 2 million pairs of eyeglasses for the truth. the army no longer examined eyes but counted them. we will be short? >> terribly short. particularly by the winner of 44 and 45. not only that, initially to be drafted yet to have at least 12 of your natural 32 teeth. by 1944 is zero because the army and navy have drafted a third of all the dentists to make dentures to pull teeth to mental teeth and that sort of thing. you could be drafted in 1944 if you're missing a ton, three fingers, including a trigger finger, deafen one-year. drafting 12,000 db patients a month. most of them syphilitic. how? penicillin. they were making it in huge quantities by 1944. all of this because precisely we were short of men and particularly we were assured of infantrymen and especially short of riflemen.
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so there was an effort to fill the ranks. casualties had been running high. we cannot forget the 400,000 americans that died during the war. of that 291,000 killed in action . and though war falls heaviest always on the infantrymen. this is all part of an effort to keep those infantry ranks failed. britain did run out of man, so we were in bad shape. the brits were in terrible shape. >> host: if you could, just give us the macro view of the split between the pacific and european theaters. man, resources. >> well, the american army put 89 divisions into the field. about two-thirds of those in your. less than one-third in the pacific. all six marine divisions, u.s. marine corps divisions are in the pacific. most of the navy's in the pacific, including virtually all the aircraft carriers and most of the bigger battle ships.
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heavy cruisers and so on. when you look at it that way, you can see that the weight between the pacific theater and the atlantic theater is, it's pretty evenly split. when you are just looking in terms of manpower, you can see that the wait was given to fighting the germans, and this is because the decision had been made. early in 1942, a principle called germany first, roosevelt, churchill, and the senior commanders believe that if you could defeat the strongest of the axis powers first, and that was clearly germany, then the others would fall from the tree like rumford. this is the first and most important principle strategic principle of the war. it turned out to be true, and that is why you see the weight placed on your coming even though it is the japanese who had offended as initially and most grievously with the attack on pearl harbor. >> host: the year 1942, was that like for the u.s.?
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>> it was fraught. first of all, bigger argument over where to attack. counterpunch. when the decision is made that we're going to do against the germans, we end up going to north africa for reasons that we have discussed. but this is a mission, an operation. it was called torch. going to north africa. it was, perhaps among the greatest game of the war for the americans. it involved secretly crossing the atlantic at a time when that german u-boat's -- german submarine threat is at its greatest. it involves attacking hostile shores, which is always one of the most difficult kinds of military operations, amphibious operations against an entrenched enemy. it involves aligning ourselves of the british and waging war in ways that we were not accustomed to and making it up as we go along. it involves finding the man who can lead other men in the dark
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of night, which is what combat is fundamentally about. all of this is a high wire acts of the first order. and that is what 1942 is about, letting that play out. >> all of the divisiveness that had existed in the united states over whether to get involved, whether to participate in any way so there is a unanimity of feeling about the strategic direction of the country. a feeling that we are now in it with our allies and in it until the end, and they're is a recognition that this is an essential or. our various resistance to our very way of life is a stake. don't forget that in 1942 there
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are about 130 million people in the united states. 16 million of them would be in uniform by 1945. everyone has someone that they 11 on july. everyone has been in the game, but state. that becomes quite clear to americans the course of 1942. contrast that to today. 313 million. 2 million in uniform. almost no one has some 111 arms way. almost no one has skin in a game in the same sense. quite different psychologically between world war ii and america today. >> host: from the guns that last flight, 1944, england. soldiering on. a bastion of civilization, i heard the area outside the --
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you would not dare insult me. large crowds sang along. london's. screaming for whom the bell tolls. gary cooper and ingrid bergman. peter patrons can see him play hamlet. now in its third year at the dutchess theater. ascot on sunday may 14th 1944. thousands peddle their bicycles to the track to watch kings way, a call to the first-class galloped past. apropos. the geographical society sponsored a lecture on the formation of ice in lakes and rivers. that is may 1944, london. >> the british had been at war obviously since 1939, at war serious this is a 1940. they had been under attack relentless beat -- relentlessly.
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there seemed to be under attack in a different way. rather clumsy, but quite deadly. flying bombs. privation is part of the british landscape. and all of a sudden in the midst of this there are a couple of million american soldiers showing up in a country the size of oregon. it is potentially combustible. but by a good leaders, humor, mostly good humor, they manage to show great forbearance in taking on this invasion by their allies. they contribute a lot to our well-being. they contribute everything from tense and housing to a little food they have. it is the beginning of the alliance that we think of today, the special relationship between the united states and britain. it has not developed quite yet on the battlefield, especially
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the high command, but even though there are plenty of grieved british people because of the fact that there are millions of gis around the neck in the crude and overbearing and noisy, the british in general share great character throw of this. it is fun to write about it. very interesting part of this very long relationship with what has been the mother country. >> host: your research? >> guest: well, i am an archive rat as it turns out. i spend accumulative weeks to months, years in places like the national archives, college park maryland, the library of congress, the u.s. army military history institute in carlisle, pennsylvania a couple hours not of washington. various british archives, in the imperial war museum. and over the course of the better part of 15 years i've
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gotten to know those archives very well. every state university virtually as a world war ii archive within his library or its archive somehow. i get an enormous amount of stuff from readers. people say my dad liked this memoir. i don't know what to do with it. often can be very, very interesting and valuable to me. i don't interview many veterans. that is because my father would be 89. world war two veteran. completely compass mantis. and yet what happened 70 years ago is, for everyone who is still alive from that time and off told tale. and it may or may not be reliable. it may or may not be as vivid as they remember, and the contemporaneous record, including thousands and thousands of oral histories that were done almost simultaneous with the events that occurred, many of them done by the army
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historian, so deep and broad that you don't need the recollection of 70 years after in my judgment. so i do mostly use archives, and i try to use mostly contemporary archives. of course, to sail least there have been a lot of books written. amazon this something like 60,000 hardcover titles, some of them really good needless to say and so i assiduously try and counter that and be diligent and see what others have written. >> host: where was your dad stations? >> guest: he got to europe at the end of the war enlisting in 43 amatol officer candidate school and was a second lieutenant. he was in the constabulary which was a very interesting uniform bright as the war ended. i can still remember his helmet. a yellow band around it with the yellow sea for constabulary.
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there job was to keep order in bavaria at a time when bavaria and munich and other cities, nuremberg, had been utterly destroyed. 7 million dead germans. no food, no power, no running water. it is horrible. it is a nation of 80 million people that has been utterly smashed. and so he was there for a year, came back, went to college at penn state and then went back into the army. he liked it enough that he made a career subsequently. a career army officer. so, you know, he had a very interesting role. your uprighted the and. >> host: waited you grow up? >> guest: like most army brats, was born in munich. and my dad when becky was sent to salzburg. a nice place to be stationed back with the u.s. army was still in austria. in the first years of my life were spent in austria. the army hospital happened to be in munich. and from there, an infantry
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officer. the life of an entry fee of -- infantry officer. itel, san francisco, a lie, pennsylvania. moving around quite a bit. >> host: where did you go to college and what to do for a living? >> guest: east carolina and the university of chicago. college english professor. it is seen little sedentary. they did not seem like the right thing. i got a job after finished my master's degree. ..
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you are watching booktv. we are with rick atkinson. here are his books. the beginning of the liberation
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trilogy started in 2002. then he went off away from the liberation trilogy and went into the company of soldiers. a chronicle of combat came out. the day of battle, the second in the triple which he came out and 2007. the war in sicily and italy came out from 193033 until 1944. if you like to participate in our conversation this afternoon with rick atkinson, the numbers are on the screen. they are provided by c-span2. we have world war ii veterans giving focus to mr. atkinson. (202)585-2880. if you live in the central or eastern time zones or mountain or pacific zones, the numbers
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are on your screen. if you would like to talk to mr. atkinson me about (202)585-3882. we believe the number up. you can also contact us at and you can make a comment on or you can check us out on twitter. check us out in the comment field for rick atkinson. beginning with your first book, the long gray line. why did he write this? >> guest: i kind of stumbled into the story. my dad had a close friend who had a son who is in the class. his name was mike fuller very
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probably as close to an older brother as i will ever have. they were killed in cambodia. then they came home and found that they were no longer the leaders, they were out there respectively as the country went through the great upheaval of the war. so i went to the reunion in 1981 at west point. a lot of the dead are buried and everyone is crying. it was clear that this was a powerful story that allows you history over a quarter century
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the book is built around three central characters. i am still very close to the men from that class and i will always think of them as these 18-year-old boys chewing up in july of 1962. >> two of the three of central characters were in the same company.
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one of them went to harvard business school. home is where the couple of times. they found inside cells on opposite sides of one of the most contentious issues and that was over how to honor the dead with the vietnam veterans memorial. tom was the most outspoken and articulate opponent of the design. jeff was murdered a couple of years ago in delaware. in an an unsolved killing. no one knows what really happened. except for the killer, i suppose. but before that happened, the two had reconciled.
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i had gone there right at the end of the war. and i got there and i was there for about six weeks in march and april reporting for the post and also gathering the strength to try to tell the story of what had happened from the inside. spending a lot of time with schwarzkopf and the other generals and admirals who ran the war.
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so that was my involvement in this. >> host: you write that no military movements movement since the vietnam war provoked more controversy or debate one more cost of commentary. >> guest: yes, some of your viewers will remember that the decision was made after 100 hours when the iraqis had been evicted from kuwait. they had invaded kuwait in august of 1991. parts of baghdad saddam hussein
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regime. and when they were on the run and being chased to the euphrates river, the decision is being made to end the war. it remains controversial to this day. we invaded iraq again in earnest. all of that came out of the decision going on in earlier wars. >> host: here they are, here's the order. you'll enter the continent of europe and in conjunction with the others, undertake operations and it comes from the combined chiefs of staff.
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the decision had been made with the german surrender in january of 1943. but the that the only way the war could end was through complete surrender and unconditional surrender by the active powers. the determination was going to happen with japan and germany. battering them enough to surrender them unconditionally. it seems that it is just part of the code.
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it seems like they had a 23-foot swing in the tide. they had stormed an invasion of sicily and it was stormy indeed
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and it was awful. so he postpone it. it was extraordinary anxiety and they had this was an similar point in the french coast but it probably would've been catastrophic. so the anxiety level is just unbelievable. so do six of the day that we celebrated the day.
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they're almost 7000 deaths there. by no means were the casualties lie, but they were less than anticipated at utah beach, which was part of the invasion force he once you want to get inland
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as far as he can and as quickly as you can they can't sell the beach and that is one you are most vulnerable. the casualties come you're talking 3000 or so deaths altogether. >> you needed to have an airborne operation, and it is a big one. it includes them winning by parachute later at night.
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this is all confusion and they shot down the parachute. all you have to say that it was successful. [inaudible] it is like that they had -- that the germans had reinforced to a degree that they had wanted eisenhower to scrub it. he was a senior air officer it
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was counterattacks across the beaches without taking a huge risk and as it turns out, it was the right decision and it worked pretty well all in all. >> host: he had said that more than 6000 had landed on this tuesday morning.
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it was 11-millimeter shots and they were in brevin parachute in their faces bloodied unstained. >> it was a fatal miscalculation. it was a jump from this. you're airborne troops were volunteers. even though you had said that you wanted to be there and you have to believe that even though many had second thoughts about that. it's hard to believe they are both still active.
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we see them fighting elsewhere in britain. notably in this area, and they were extraordinary. my admiration for them is unbounded. >> host: one more quote. the preparatory bombing from the american beaches in operation overlord lasted nearly half an hour in order to get on with the landing. allied ships fired 140,000 shells and there were 218 shells and almost one direct hit was recorded capable of of 111 guns and none were completely knocked out.
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rick atkinson is our guest. the numbers are up on our screen for world war ii veterans. 202-58-5382 is the number. we will begin with a call from robert. >> caller: 16 million people, i would like to ask the author, what were the number of admirals. >> guest: i cannot recall but i do figure it is proportionate. today there are those soldiers,
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we had 1.83 million in the united states army in world war ii. and now we have more generals per soldier and i don't think it was necessarily obsessive. this was a debate in the pentagon among other places and elsewhere around washington. my feeling is that it's hard to make the case that there are too many generals. >> host: louise is a world war ii veteran calling from vero beach florida. thank you for calling. >> caller: thank you for writing about north africa. i was with the 77th evacuation hospital affiliated with the university of kansas and what we
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did in north africa was we had two other hospitals behind the front line. >> host: were you a volunteer. >> caller: yes. >> host: what do you recall about that experience? >> caller: it was totally unusual we had to just work from scratch.
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>> guest: we are very enthusiastic about what you did. we are very enthusiastic about the university of kansas because my wife is a grad and i studied about this periodically throughout my research. there were no unit that i'm aware of that did more for a longer. matter of time. i am aware of the extraordinarily difficult circumstances. i am in all of them. i tell her what you and your colleagues have done. she works with surgeons at the university of cincinnati in the
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trauma surgery and has some sense of this. >> host: were all women volunteers? >> guest: yes, they were the women's army corps. and there was no draft of winning. the men were subject to it and deeper into the world or greater were your chances considerably. there is never a jaffa women. so if you're wondering if you are working in the aircraft factory or the driver something, it is because he volunteered to be there. >> host: from his book an army at dawn, he writes that one
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continent had combat experience and there was the importance of terrain and massed armor and what it was like to be bombed, shell, and machine gun and tank gun and said winston churchill. but was he right to insist on the campaign and what africa we had have done the european invasion in 1946. >> guest: this has been debated for 70 years since then. it was counterfactual. but my feeling is over a long
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period of time, it played out as it should played out. i don't believe that we have the capability to convey this in 1943. i think it would've been could have been disastrous. but there were no good alternatives to north africa is in fact you are trying to automate them liberally. my feeling is that even though there is a bit of improvisation involved, there is a miscalculation about how ezio will be in north africa and their missed operations about what churchill called the soft underbelly. i think you can argue that it went on too long. it drew too much of our resources.
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>> host: the americans and the british, were they on the same page? >> guest: they were almost never on the same page. especially they did get along on defeating the third reich. but initially the british favored north africa. the one guy had a vote, and that was franklin roosevelt. and this sets the stage for disagreeing over large issues like that one. and practical issues.
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it is bad feelings at times to blood allies. >> host: you can try social media if you can't get through on a phone line. you can make a comment at >> caller: why was the decision made to go to italy as opposed going directly into france. another question is how well did the fbi administration handle
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slapping a soldier and so on if he was supposedly one of our top commanders. it could've been finish early it was actually the book on c-span. after world war i, their superiors train them specifically for this eisenhower were drafted and they were already in the service. they were the ones who are going to we beat invasions.
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once you have committed yourself to 1944, there is a project is basically a large aircraft carrier and you need basis for the aircraft campaign that you want to launch especially in germany. there is a certain sense about
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two. in june 2 southern italy that happens right away especially in september of 1943. until may of 1945 part of it was to tie up german troops to keep them away towards other defensive positions and part of it was because of a momentum to it. they have 200 years of experience and they have imperial interests in the mediterranean. you find that there was a momentum and logic of its own that occurs in war.
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the second question was about to so soldiers. they believe that both of them were lingering. that would happen today, he would be let go from the army. the fact that the soldiers remained secret for several months, it happened in august. it wasn't roosevelt to really intervene. it was eisenhower trying to decide what to do with this problem child. and after contemplating it for a wild, you recognize the patent is, as you say, a fine field commander. he decided that he would not send them home, but as the
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senior american ground commander, he is viewed for deception reasons and he is shunted aside for several months what they said was deserved it chose a fairly wise course. the third question i'm not really sure i understood. >> host: were they specifically trained, eisenhower and patton? >> guest: no, they weren't.
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there was not a deliberate attempt to cultivate these men as battle commanders for a second world war. it happens in part because they prove themselves to be capable professionals that recognizes their merit. but they have not have designated this is the future leaders of the armed forces and world war ii. >> host: sam is a world war ii veteran in palm beach gardens. you're on with author rick atkinson. >> caller: it is so great to hear from you. thank you for taking my call.
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the long gray line is a great book. in the battle of heroes you know where i was, 220 men plus 80 replacements, it has never been written about and covered. on the day there was part of this and that afternoon and that day was the third battalion and much of it was wiped out. and it had been written about. but also we need to have a writer like you to go after this when they are not able to stop
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this. we are wishing august at him and. >> guest: thank you, jim. you sound awfully good. thank you for the comment. the second one is first. the service academy academy and the service generally is a service issue. some of the leadership has been a little cavalier about it. and i just don't think you can expect to attract very capable women, which are central to the force. unless you treat them properly and respect them they are ehrman and marines and i am hopeful that secretary hagel are going to hammer home until the proper thing is done.
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>> i decided some time ago that i'm not going to do the specifics, i'm going to leave the topic of world war ii. and in fact, have agreed that i'm going to do a trilogy. my intent is to take on the revolution somewhat as i did with this until it from both sides, particularly to do it from a foxhole view with strategic views and the cast of characters better justice
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fantastic she was well into volume one. so i will tell him that story on iwo jima that he needs to see. >> host: which it says can you discuss your writing process. >> guest: have you know, that is critical. it is so helpful when you know
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what to throw out or leave in or make judgments on the fly. in my brain, i think it is something that you really need to understand. and then i really make a mark at that point i began and then i build a very large outline.
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i sit down and write about 8000 words a day. so it is only 250,000 words for the book, so if you can commit yourself to that, next thing you know, you have above. >> host: let's take another call. >> caller: mr. atkinson from i want to thank you for your great writing and book on world war ii. i want to ask you question that we talked about. we talked about this.
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what you learn in world war ii? what about world war one when it comes to shell shock. >> guest: that's an excellent question. when it comes to shell shock, by the time we were involved with a lot of neuropsychiatric issues and then transport for example. so one thing when soldiers show
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signs of combat fatigue, they tend to knock them out at times and they would try not to, except in the worst cases, they would really come unglued at times they would try not to ship them too far to the rear, but they wanted to take them and provide a link to the units they were hospitalized during world war ii. it was enormous. do not today you have to say that the treatment of. >> host: stress disorder is very
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dramatic, we didn't have the diagnosis of. >> host: stress disorder at that time, there were hundreds of thousands or maybe millions who came home from war and suffered from this experience of it in ways that we would now recognize. and yet it was not diagnosed then. today they are much better at diagnosing this. you have terrific combat like general carter has. and it's like saying, look, i recognize that i have symptoms of ptsd. and when the general is saying that, it allows the lieutenant to come forward and say, okay, i also need it, it won't be the end of my career. so i think that we have come quite a ways in that regard. >> host: you're watching the tv
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on c-span2. this is our shiping bao program. rick atkinson is our guest. >> guest: this is after the success that we have in normandy. in july we launched an operation called cobra. it punches a hole in the german defensive lines.
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a lot of them got killed, they captured 40,000 or so. but yet there is a great feeling of jubilation that the germans are on the run. the next stop was berlin. this is making plans to celebrate victory in august or september of 1943, and of course it hasn't happened as coarse as fast as anyone hopes.
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>> host: and american soldiers barked at the mobs, and they said you are all collaborationist. the newspaper resumed publication of a daily newspaper from 900,000 men and women that would be arrested in the purge of 125,000 were forced to answer in court for their behavior. let's take another call.
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>> caller: i would just like to say that i really appreciate you taking my call and i appreciate the description that you gave of roosevelt with the normandy campaign. even before macarthur got there. there is various circumstances. one of them resulted in a
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strategic cul-de-sac. so it got a little further on that when rome was captured, they had a lot of re-invasion. so did not more or less argue that the campaign continued in italy after that? that that was unnecessary? >> welcome another well, that is a good question. i thank you for your generous comments. also for the good question. you know, i think that there is possibility to what you say. there is some sense in capturing southern italy because there are very good airfields. and if you want to hammer germans with strategic bombers from not only england, the flying out of the south and italy, hitting oil fields and facilities and all the rest,
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having that really makes good sense. as i suggested earlier, part of the plan is the strategic rationale. it is to try out as many german divisions as you can. there are more than 20 of them, including some good ones in italy. those are 20 divisions that we will not be facing in normandy. so i think that there is justification with respect to that. the decision has already been made that there will be an invasion of southern france. it happened on august 15, 1944. it was supposed to be simultaneous with the normandy invasion but delayed a couple of months because of this and someone. so we pulled some of our best units out of italy, 36th division and the french pulled
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all of their forces. and they were as good as anyone and had the best field commanders. but they said we still have a country to liberate and i cannot justify having four or more french fighting in italy. when the opportunity is to fight through normandy or come through southern france. right there, there will be many more going through southern france that are pulled on his italy. the british are bitterly opposed. churchill is hysterical with the invasion of southern france. he believes that if you're going to invade someone else come you're going to fight your way up the river valley and keep the pressure on the germans from their great that you should invade through the head of the adriatic. it is a way of getting towards
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vienna. the americans basically put their foot down. they are the big boys on the block. churchill has to secede to the demands as it turns out. that this southern france innovation will take place. but the forces in italy will be reduced. but the fighting continues in italy right until the beginning of may of 1945, partly in order to keep the german forces tied up. >> host: so you said particularly widespread was a cigarette shortage. more than a million packs a day and year. a million packs of cigarettes a day.
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>> yes, and dwight eisenhower did more than his share. smoking four packs of cigarettes a day himself. the rest were included in the rations. and you could take away the ammunition, but you could not take away their cigarettes. there was a serious shortage that had more to do with the shipping issues than the shortage of cigarettes. and the troops were right. this is a big problem. eisenhower switched to show solidarity with the soldiers. but patton was a cigar smoker and he would smoke as many as churchill, 28 sometimes. he gave of the cigars. to show solidarity. so it is part of the culture.
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and you look back and say, what are we doing to those guys. in december of 1944. but it was a different age and that was part and parcel oven entitlement. >> host: let's take another call. >> caller: hello, i am a world war ii veteran 86 years old.
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i would like to say that the reason that i think that voters are committing suicide is because of money. a lot of them when they get discharged, some of their parents may even be dead then. they go into a city that they don't know anyone. and then they don't have this, many are sleeping under the bridges because they don't have anywhere to go and all of that. so we have this and i am not sure how it works. but i know that we have to have 50 to 20, we got $22 a week
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before 52 weeks. >> host: nathanael, where were you stationed in world war ii and what was your experience. >> caller: i am from california, los angeles, california. i was stationed in bg, france, and also in germany for a short periods of time. i was a truck driver for the 337 engineers. my job was to take the emts at the airfield and then i was free to go to the red cross and play ping-pong or whatever. then i would pick them up and take them back to camp. >> host: thank you for calling in, sir. >> guest: thank you, thank you for your service.
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it can be very alarming. the subject and statistics are of great concern. anyone who cares about soldiers in the army and the relationship of this, suicide rates in the military had been less than the general population and they are equal to or greater than this. soldiers leave the military, they do get certain benefits and many soldiers going precisely for the education benefits that they subsequently get. you can build up a pretty good nest egg, but that doesn't necessarily deal with the psychic scars that you may have. there were suicides, of course, during world war ii. >> host: you have the.actual number? >> i do not. but there were 400,000 total deaths of americans in world war ii.
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that difference included this and accidents and disease and so on. so i think that certainly the pentagon is taking it very seriously. and i think that there are efforts to counsel services as we get out. efforts to make them more aware of suicidal symptoms and symptoms of depression and so on. i but i think you are right, you are taken out of the structured environment and you go off to look for a job and it's not just the military. when you look at the aggregated numbers among veterans and it's higher than the unemployment numbers, then you know that there is something wrong with dealing with veterans and the way that they have acted after they finish their service.
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>> host: eisenhower's provost marshal estimated that we have 18,000 american deserters that roamed in another 10,000 british absconders. equal equivalent of black-market forces. hundreds of such vehicles like army trucks that were storm vanished every day for $5000. >> guest: yes, there is a lot of bad behavior. there is no doubt about it. i think it is important to recognize that the notion of all the brothers were dying and the virtues were nonexistent. that is not how human nature works in or out of the army. there were 23,000 deserters in world war ii. there were thousands of
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court-martials for felonies and hundreds of thousands for misdemeanors, basically. there was a lot of problems with murder and rape in world war ii, french villagers in normandy especially the protested violent behavior and there were complaints to eisenhower and they were being accosted and war makes good soldiers do bad things things and that soldiers do terrible things. to believe otherwise is not to understand what war does to the soul. it is this kind of behavior, some of the mischievous.
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it is part of the story of world war ii. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment for rick atkinson. roger from loma linda, california. >> caller: hello, thank you for taking my call. at cal state for psychology and survival. your comment, i believe, it is right on the money. i have read all three volumes, your work is not as good, but it is brilliant. you should get another pulitzer. at the command level, there there's enough to go down, i think. montgomery, i believe, they took the cake with the political rigmarole that went on. i had to laugh sometimes.
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a lot of stuff that you have there. commenting on how you personally felt about montgomery, have you ever thought about putting your political x-ray eyes onto the vietnam war. >> guest: thank you, roger. thank you for your kind comments. you know, no doubt about it. the last question first, i think it is time for somebody to take a good look at vietnam. and i think that can believe that now, four years after the fact, while many veterans were still alive, the documents that classified as for a long time and may be right for somebody to take on vietnam and the best book out there was written by my
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favorite authors. it comes to montgomery, i think it is important to recognize. i have a certain sympathy. he had a very difficult childhood. he has an awful mother and she is forever saying find out what he's doing and make him stop. so then he is shipped off to the st. paul school in london to boarding school and it kind of has to make his own way and there is an emotional fragility about him that plays out as a kind of self absorption. so i think that what we see is a guy who is very much involved with himself and has very poor
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social skills at recognizing how others see him but he just doesn't pick up the key was you would hope. my memory is important to the british empire in the sense that churchill's government is on the ropes in north africa and it's not clear that the british army is going to survive in egypt in 1940 to montgomery and send and he does when a single victory in church hill thereafter is forever in his debt and he has no illusions about montgomery is a difficult character, a german general captured and someone told church hill that he had been invited by montgomery to have lunch and churchill said i, too, have dined with him. but eisenhower, you know, he has
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had to deal with this guy from north africa through sicily. and we we both believe at the end of 1943 that they prepared for the invasion in normandy. it is a great trial and an even greater trial of his skills as a politician. this is why eisenhower is an extreme commander. roosevelt says he is the best politician among the generals. part of it is holding together a coalition against office and took a turn centripetal forces and pulled apart. , you know, eisenhower, they almost fell apart and fall away from each other to the extent that eisenhower is going to ask to have montgomery relieved. it almost comes, but it does not. it is a tribute to eisenhower as
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to what he is able to finesse somehow. but i must say that he is a great deal of fun to write about could not have asked for a better novel. there is another pre-madonna is a great so you know, is very good at dealing with the french at franklin roosevelt to test it on. he thought he was a tyrant in the making and not really a democrat. and he does not want to acknowledge list of all is, in fact, a legitimate head of brand or had eisenhower sees that he has broad popular support among defensemen usually the only guy that he can deal with it is that he has a great deal of legitimacy. and again, eisenhower is capable of turning the other cheek there and basically harnessing charles de gaulle and his forces to a common good.
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>> speaking of general eisenhower, this is august of 1944 live him in a different field marshal and now he continued in that position. without recognizing the fine command shortcomings of his chief lieutenants. >> he is not a very good field marshal. he is not a natural battle captain who he does not see things the great captains like napoleon and he does not dominate a battlefield. that is not his drunkard his job. his job is not to be field marshal but his job, he defined that is to be chairman of the board. that's the phrase that uses
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predetermined of the largest marshal advice on earth in his task is to hold together this coalition against all of these forces. his job is to provide the beans and bullets involved necessary to win the war in his job is to find the right men man who can read other men in the dark and those who are part of the battlefield commanders that he needs. i give him credit where credit is due. i am going to call a spade a spade. including to say that he does not see what is happening on the battlefield and he does not intervene. at the straits of messina in sicily. he doesn't see that they will get away. he simply does not show the skills needed to qualify as a great captain, but that's okay, that's not his job.
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>> host: we are so him-haw of ted roosevelt. what are your thoughts about this opportunity in your book? >> i love writing about him, he is an extraordinary character. you know, is someone whose father is the 20 attempted he volunteers for world war i. he performs heroically and is wounded in the war. between the wars he is very accomplished and he publishes his books with doubleday and is a chairman of american express and is the governor general of the philippines and puerto rico and he is an explorer and
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extraordinary. then world war ii comes around and he is back in uniform. he is in his 50s at this point at utah beach. he has been in sicily in north africa. he has been relieved of command he recognizes that the windy are going badly and and he basically tells them part of this. and he never knows if he is going to be awarded the medal of honor. and that he's going to get his own division. ninetieth division. eisenhower has just approved of this. so he is an extraordinary character to write about.
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like you guys come i appreciate him for what he is. he is a beautiful writer. i heated to say goodbye to him when he died in july of 1944. >> caller: hello, thank you for taking my call. hello, i have read two of her books. the first of the trilogy, and i am well into the third. the first question is about the commander of the second quarter. the allies tried to cut off the germans from tunis and they failed to do that in a rush from the invasion area. they were in disarray, they had
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defensive positions and they had to defend quite a front. now, then a disaster was passed. but it was replaced after that and laugh proudly recommended his replacement. and he said positive things about him up until then. my question, i guess, it is do you think that he was just a fall guy and do you have any other insights? >> well, thank you. i think that he might be the wrong man for the job and i think he demonstrated that often. when a commander has been sent to eisenhower by george marshall, chief of staff, it is not only him, but eisenhower era term. and when marshall and the chief
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of army ground forces sent him out of the senior combat leader for the u.s. army, eisenhower is going to take a while to recognize that this guy is not up to snuff. there were suspicions that eisenhower came to share that he might have been a physical coward. i don't thought that's true, i don't think the evidence is there to make that really damning charge against him. but there is ample evidence that he is not the guy to lead the second quarter. he is nearly paralyzed, he is push 100 miles back from the front end takes precious engineering resources and they take the headquarters from the bottom of corrie and the tone is
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from one eisenhower sees him and he is recognized and showing signs of being afraid and they kind of leverage. and he's relieved and he sent home and is given command of the training army in the united states. it is the last time that eisenhower will be so benign in this way. >> host: we are talking with rick atkinson on booktv. if you are on hold, i promise that we will get to your phone call. he's the author of six important books.
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the company of soldiers from a comical of combat and the day of battle is the second in the trilogy. documented 2007. his final volume in the trilogy came out last month. 2003 c-span covered rick atkinson talking about the importance of war correspondents. >> is really a matter of keeping safe, that is what it comes down to ultimately for me. it was the specific about world war ii and i know a lot about war correspondents and their motivations. but the recent topic has come up
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with the crisis of sorts in iraq and i found myself examining my own motivations and my relationships with the military and journalism, even if i consider myself a historian now, and decided that if push comes to shove, i don't want to be part of it. i just turned 50 and my knees do not bend as well as they used to. i have two teenage kids. why do we do this? you know, i find with hoping and planning to deploy with the first airborne that it is really part of my obligation to those who serve. it is also part of my obligation to those here at home to tell the story as completely as
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possible and as completely as you can in a way that honors him without being co-opted with the military. they're not a whole lot of people who can do that. we are trying to tote a tow the fine line of being part of the institution of the military and representing, even though no one elected us, the larger republic that honors a very small group of people. i think that is an important duty and responsibility. i think that it is incumbent upon those who are capable of doing it, who are willing to do it. those who find an attractiveness about this kind of work. to go ahead and do it when you
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can. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> host: bustled from connecticut is a veteran of world war ii. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hello, thank you. thank you for taking my call. good morning, officer. >> host: turn down the volume @
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>> host: turn down the volume on your tv and listen to the phone. >> caller: as a commanding officer in world war ii. i was in the middle east and north africa during korea. so i have just finished manchester's third volume ever wondered what your reaction was to that book. >> guest: i don't have any reaction to it yet. but i have noticed it has been well received. i have not gotten around to reading it yet. but i will. >> host: the next call comes
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from colorado. you are on booktv with rick atkinson. >> caller: sir, thank you so much. i have read so much of your works and i am so grateful. my question is can you recommend a similar book written by an american soldier who fought in europe. thank you. >> guest: i rely on first-person accounts written by journalists. and i use them more than most historians because i was one. but they are also paid, a lot of times underpay professional observers.
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so i've been on them heavily. there are people that you don't know. like journalists who have written about several topics that cover the war in europe. and an individual that wrote a really wonderful little book and i have a list on the website called liberation, books that i recommend by historians and also since the first first-person account. there is nothing quite like this book that comes out of era. it has been written by soldiers of all of us and he is a general. and it holds up pretty well. he wrote two memoirs.
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but there is nothing that quite has the resonance and the grittiness of this book. >> host: you mentioned ernie pyle. this is him writing about italy. i look at it this way by having only a small army in italy, we have been able to build up a more powerful force. if by sacrificing a few our lives that winter, we would save a half million lives. it was best as it was. i wasn't sure that they were true. i only knew i had to look at it that way for a couldn't bear to think of it at all.
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>> guest: i hear the guy from india in regards to aviation and things in the war and becomes a memory. and of course we have a great the great knack of empathy and empathy as always with a grunt, with the infantrymen and he goes through hardships with very few other correspondents that do it is internally or as long. he drinks too much, he weighs maybe 100 pounds in fact, he is not a robust character, yet he is living this awful life with
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other impeachment. they respect and admire him and he is a beautiful writer. he writes so much that there is inevitably some junk. he has to feed the bulldog everyday. the passages like that are so eliminating and so touching. and they are so vibrant that i just find that he leaves the european theater and he is there for the liberation of paris and he does not enjoy it at all by everything that he has seen and done sir. simply has lost the ability to enjoy life even when he participates in that way. he says goodbye omar bradley and everyone comments on how sad he looks. he ends up in the pacific and is killed on the island of iwo jima
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lead in the war in the spring of 1945. it is a punctual for anyone who finds himself in hawaii. i looked at it as a kid. and i remember going to the grave of ernie pyle. it is so moving, even if you are 11 years old. i think for us to remember the war, we ought to remember ernie pyle. >> host: you have another quote. that if i hear this word again, it will be too soon, or something like that. [laughter] >> guest: at yes, the soldiers get on his nerves after a while. but anyone who has been on soldiers a lot, even a lot more than i had ever been, the
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intensity of that culture, particularly if you are older, it can cause you a sense of grievance and there is an outcry, and i'm really tired of being around these guys, but i'm stuck with them after the one. >> host: if you are a world war ii veteran like to talk with rick atkinson, please call us at the number below. next call comes from my set in maine. hello. >> caller: thank you again for taking my call. i have become ensconced in history. i still cannot believe
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washington during the french and indian war and how he ended up working with general to when general washington was appointed. here he is in boston and washington is going into boston and general gates is retreating to go to new york and south carolina. i'm just amazed at all of this. >> host: do have a question? did you just want to make that comment? >> caller: all the soldiers, it makes me think of fort sumter and the civil war. no one wants to follow the first shot. >> guest: there are plenty of shots filed in world war ii.
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they were fired and there is a book that was published was estimated with a substantial number of soldiers in combat and never fired any shots. roughly 25%. certainly there was never a reluctance for the first shot to be fired, and the war was well underway. >> host: tony is in san diego. please go ahead, tony. >> caller: you so much for taking my call.
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with that being said, i would like to make a comment about what the gentleman at hugh oshima had said. i just feel like the media is not doing a good job of covering the stories. we sat through hundreds of hours. you know the rules about her. we couldn't even sit in the same as today. i just don't know what more the economy can do. i think the media will jump on this. it just doesn't ring true with any of my experience about the economy. >> guest: i think it is not true for the overwhelming cadets and
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those today, a story about a mother who allegedly she was raped by three others. it is appalling. you know, it is not to say that it is rampant. it is not to say that most don't recognize the right thing to do and would not intervene given the opportunity to stop this sort of behavior. now, it may be rigid controls are part of the problem in the long run. certainly the class of 1966, for example. it is all male, it is a hothouse environment. ..
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it. >> this is from an e-mail.
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>> i have always had an unanswered question about the d-day invasion in know there was plenty of intelligence covering all aspects of our release we perplexed that the allies were so unprepared for the headwind that increase casualty. do you have any insight? >> guest: thinks for the good question is perplexing. part of the issue is so much attention is paid to getting across the beaches and receive this with the year earlier invasions of with africa, sicily, the ball game initially is just a foothold and consequently what comes next in the case of normandy, yes, i read
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about how there are studies that recognize the american part of the invasion has a topographical oddity by farmers clearing fields and pushing rocks and debris than the wall would grow fines and trees and they are in penetrable that it reminds of the jungle of the south pacific even though there was a knowledge of this type of terrain, there had not been sufficient thinking by those who should have been thinking about how we will get through it and how it will complicate our lives citizen nasty place to fight. bradley for example, said he was vaguely aware but could not begin to imagine how bad it would be that as a
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failure of his intelligence a and imagination. he should have been aware and studies were presented to bradley and the other senior commanders to say this is gonna be like and unlike anything you have ever seen this is not the english heads that can be penetrated by tank. these are fortresses essentially social figure out how we will deal with it is something we need to think about months before that did not happen and it required a series of improvisations from american soldiers to come up with ways to blast through the hedgerows to allow them to keep fighting. >> host: we have a quote from the german general. and man who lost the battle and the board from september september 1945 that anglo-american commanders''
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seemed down to the fix plan although they were overlooked or disregarded although they were urgently needed in that area. >> guest: he is writing this when he is in jail for years because i admire him he is one of the finest german feel on negative field commanders these very cheeky he has just imprisoned you and trash you but there is a point that opportunities serviced in german generals are sometimes perplexed of the lack of imagination of allied generals and there is something to that.
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the point is this in the argument is against each other the germans are tactically superior. so what? this is not what global war is about. it is about a clash of systems in which system can produce the men and women with the logistic and his frustration for which system can produce a commander that can affect victory in the battlefield for transport or debt may aim atomic bomb? the germans cannot muster the wherewithal to cross the english channel to invading clint. the american armed forces working at the atlantic, mediterranean, sev en sees, so that notion of
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tactical superiority is really hard to point. >> host: was kesserling a committed not see? >> they were riemann who were committed nazis. under this way -- the sway to benefit not the ideology but they lived in the house that was confiscated from a jewish. kesserling did not step in to stop the deportation of the jews from italy or north africa for that matter. for the german generals to claim, survivors claim they
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were soldiers following orders to somehow there's segregated is false and the german mark was very much a part of the third reich death machine and that is why kesserling ends up in prison. >> host: you are watching booktv with c-span2 it we are talking to rick atkinson. the next caller comes from california. >> caller: hi. the premise of the question seems to be the interest in world war ii that growing up in the thirties i did not see regarding the civil war and i wondered from your perspective as a journalist and historian what has your
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sustained interest? >> i think it comes in cycles there was a resurgent interest we saw that with the tinbergen's serious is no shortage with the civil war and so one that but with roadwork to 70 years after the fact, i believe what we see now of the 16.1 million about 1.three american veterans are still alive. they die at the rate of about 800 per day next year by 20 to do for it will be below 100,000 so they are
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slipping away and i think we're finding children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren who are keen to understand because it is part of her heritage part of understanding who we are in reid came from. but finding very profound ways from the military academy. all of this derived from world war ii just as they're interested in their own personal family history history, that is an ongoing fascination but finally
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60 million dead? it is hard not to watch a train wreck gore look away something as such as rolled war two and also a feeling there is good and evil to differentiate between the two. so in temporary life or temporary conflict no doubt we were on the good side but i think people find it has the enduring appeal also. >> host: this is an e-mail homage to the strategic obama campaign could to be to the defeat of nazi germany in but was a casualty rate? >> guest: thank you.
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thank you for the good question. it is invaluable from the british in the american ince primarily and with german cities or factories or other strategic targets so prissies precisely how it should be carried out. that the germans would imploding and that americans believed hitting a certain strategic targets particularly an oil that that was the achilles heel of the german war machine. that proved to be true.
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but to know that the air force have for years from 1945 to handle the panoply of targets. the odds of surviving or filling your quota kept going up initially. or 35 missions but the odds to finish those and to go home became pretty dire. but it could be is to is just as dangerous to be on a b-17 crew. it was extremely hazardous.
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>> host: we have a veteran living in louisiana. you are on the air. >> caller: i am not a veteran of that war broke like to pay tribute to friends of mine who are gone now might engineer was one of the 82nd paratroopers that was that burgundy and i've lost about 100 of my friends. but then he went from there to market guarded been seriously wounded.
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and had taken the last ridge thin he fought. and my uncle struck the campaign and lived through it and lunches general but said of a soldier who was slapped he said we had a serious people shooting themselves in the foot and he was incensed about the. but he loved his general. a lot of our boys died but not because we were fighting >> host: we will leave your comments there. of rethink you for calling in. now we have a call from amanda. -- amanda the e-mail says i was a child of eight years old and northern italy my family moved to a small
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village to get away from the bombing. often at night we were visited by those looking for food those who are overlooking that partisans but we were only shuffled away in the bedroom out of sight and we were scared although we could still hear everything so how effective was the full of resistance? with every occupied country has its own flavor of resistance. but not until northern italy that they become a formidable force. with the german occupiers
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they blew up the train track and the bridges and they became pretty formidable added by the os us the forerunner of the cia and they play a role is not decisive but the germans are absolutely worthless. if you're partisan you would be executed. it is a bigger network the where they play a role prior to that very little partisan activity. you had to be incredibly brave otherwise they would execute everyone in the village of 51 was active in that area.
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so to play a role in southern france those that would parachute in to rendezvoused with the french resistance units to help in various ways. there is an important part of the pressure on the germans. >> host: an arkansas e-mail. why in your opinion to the eisenhower and bradley heed their warnings and what about the decision to let the russians take berlin? >> guest: the warning signs were fairly opaque it
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is easy to say in retrospect they were going along in the border but at the time thinking the germans are so thoroughly battered they lacked the wherewithal to put together the army offensive that took place. also an over reliance on the british ability to intercept the most secret radio traffic you did not hear it but all of the planning with the battle of double negative was done face-to-face. there is not as it is transmitted by radio to be intercepted and coded in consequently so with the
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huge preparation under way to say it was no clear rule to see coming but it was a failure of the largest magnitude but yet there are reasons. why did we not take berlin? we intended to. that was in the plan from normandy. and reaffirmed in the fall then he changed his mind in part because the russians are on the doorstep but those of several million troops that would fall in berlin.
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in the decisions that have already been made and then to be divided up after the war. and then ultimately for the french in the same happens with berlin and eisenhower came with a conflict with the russians and believed with tens of thousands of casualties when the russians were already virtually inside the city limits and that trying to cut germany in half it was entirely the right decision. churchill in particular believed it would have been
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a push by 70 years later that decision holds up well. >> host: who was piper? talking about a battle of the bulge. he was an ss soldier the point of this year in the attack that began six of 161944 to lead the aryan column to get to the news river and then proceed onto antwerp. piper who is quite sophisticated spoke english and french period intelligent so what we find
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with piper's column may have troubles from the get-go and moving slower than they are supposed to be but it he comes to the village with an american units they shoot up the convoy, american and soldiers who survived are massacred. others get away or the massacre begin says cycle of reprisal for no prisoners to be taken that he gets close he doesn't have a combat power but he manages with
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his 1500 men and was tried for war crimes with scores of others involved but it was a tainted procedure extracted those that were under judicial review so the life sentence was commuted and he served 10 years in prison and then let out and became a salesman for the motor company and then for volkswagen. he was murdered in the early '70s he had a house in eastern france it was arson and his berndt body was
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found and that case was never solved but there were very few tears were shed. >> host: said he had a house in france afterwards? >> guest: he did. >> do we tend to overvalue our contribution and undervalue the u.s.s.r.? to and that is a good point i tried to make the point whenever i can't that those dying for the alliance they had 26 million die which was unimaginable but to overlook the soviet contribution rhodora to return soon to a cold war and they become adversaries in there is little profit to the acknowledged the role for
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adversaries during the cold war but seven years after the fact it should be recognized by every american is not for the russians cannot be as quickly as it was that everyone that died there those that didn't have to. >> host: we have a caller from california. >> caller: i am into the third book. their great. i read the hitherto. thank you for writing them. but december 16 was the standard so i will go off with your crusade and ask about the political pressure in the u.s. congress after the 100 hours in iraq. how big of an effect?
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in listening to nancy pelosi talk about continuing the war. was that a factor? >> guest: no. i don't think it was. i don't think it had anything to do with it. the decision was made in the pentagon specifically to comb -- colin powell and civilian masters and called general schwarzkopf at the 100 hour mark we did with united nations asked misheard to do refilled the requirements authorization. but they were concerned eventually there would be a
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backlash, a television photos in particular would be seen as carnage on the highway of death and in fact, he was aware that there was carnage. i don't think nancy pelosi had anything to do that. >> host: we have a world war ii veteran. you're on the air with a 39. >> caller: thank you so much. and your observations are very profound and it was my privilege to go to the normandy american cemetery from the beaches of normandy and and with the
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congressional medal of honor '' when you're there are two in the cemetery when it is theodore roosevelt, jr. alleges wanted 2.0 those of you need to there at the gravesite. >> guest: thank you for that. >> host: what was your service in world war ii? >> caller: i was in the marines and on a transport in the pacific. but we got off very light. >> host: thank you. we have had callers talking
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about rape and sexual assault in "the guns at last light" you write about this. a little bit you do have some figures that i want to share. 443 death penalties imposed on gi's for murder or rape and severely disproportionate number were on the black soldiers after dubious to process 70 executions took place including several public canings. >> guest: yes. and one execution for word desertion. . .


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